Always stylish and sufficiently glamorous for a morning show, TV host Huma Amir Shah has a distinct sense of style that helps her stand out on GEO Pakistan, the program she co-hosts with Usama Ghazi. While most morning show hosts (or hostesses) flaunt what Huma terms as “bhabhi joras” (those flowery ensembles that most women love to fawn over) Huma makes it clear that minimalism is on her mind when she’s thinking of her wardrobe. “I don’t want to be the kind of personality who people call to admire what they’re wearing or how pyari she looks.”
“I don’t want to take away the attention of what I’m saying by allowing my audience to fixate on what I’m wearing,” she says.
Huma is dressed in a baggy short black and white tunic when we meet; her hair is tied high in a pony tail while her makeup or “war paint,” as she calls it, comes off once a day, every night. She makes no bones about the fact that you have to look pretty and presentable if you’re to get noticed on television, even for a news-based program.
“TV is a visual medium,” she says. “We’re not on radio but on television and we have to look presentable.”
What exactly does “looking presentable” actually mean? It means getting up at 5:30 to research the day’s content and making it for a 7:30am makeup call that’ll have her ready by 9am. The war paint comes on every morning and it’s part of a painful, daily regime.
“My real hair is long and it has suffered 15 years of styling so yes, it does need some work every morning,” she says with a grimace.
Thankfully, she has the liberty of keeping her style casual while being smart. Huma loves high street labels and wears a lot of Generation, Khaadi, Ego and recently, even Beech Tree.
“I mix and match a lot,” she says. “My accessories are as much a part of the outfit as my clothes are. I travel a lot and buy from everywhere.”
“My wardrobe is totally my own,” she adds. “I chose my own wardrobe because I have trust issues. I can’t wear jhumkas and bhabhi joras on morning television. Even on the Eid show I was wearing an interesting, edgy outfit, which was pretty at the same time.”
How does she plan her wardrobe, I wonder aloud, as she has to select a new outfit five times a week?
“I mentally sort out colours for the week and try to keep my clothes as monochrome as possible,” she informs. “I will avoid wearing black because it’s too early in the morning to wear black. I generally want my clothes to be fuss-free.”
Being fuss free is what’s important to her, she reinforces when I ask her of a style necessity. Is it shoes or accessories or a certain bag?
“I can’t wear anything that’s trendy but uncomfortable,” she replies. “So my comfort level matters more than anything else. If I’m not comfortable then I won’t wear it, no matter how big the brand is. My style necessity is comfort, not a particular item of clothing. And that’s why I really love these high street brands; I feel the simplest of things can have such an impact.”